The greatest argument I hear among political debates is, “that’s not what our founders would have wanted.” We seem to be caught in the inherent idea that our Constitution is cast in stone, leaving the ideas that founded our country unmalleable for all eternity.
If that were true, then I, as a mixed race Black woman, would unlikely exist, much less be expressing my views right now. If I did exist, I would be a product of rape and not love; I would be property of my master until he deemed me no longer worthy and either sold or killed me.
The Founding Fathers knew the Constitution wasn’t perfect. They ratified ten amendments six months after the Constitution was adopted. They added almost as many more within 20 years.
American democracy was — is an experiment. Our country was established on the idea that we didn’t need a monarchy to rule over us, but that we could self-govern. As the years have gone by, some of the flaws in that thought process have become painfully apparent. After all, we are still human and our own self-interest and need for self-preservation will always win out without checks and balances to hold our elected officials accountable to us, those who voted them into office.
But like any good experiment, when things start going badly, you don’t halt the entire experiment. You examine where you might have flaws in your logic and adjust. You rethink your position. You make amendments. You challenge the status quo.
I’m not pleased with where we are as a nation right now. I guess you could say that my relationship with the U.S. and our government “is complicated.”
It’s hard to feel patriotic when you feel your own nation is attacking you.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when you realize that you’re not really free — that someone, armed to the nines (whether legally or not) can choose to take your life and those around you for any reason. Especially when you realize more often than not, that someone is paid with your tax dollars to protect you.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when so many people in our country live in poverty, not because they are lazy, but because the systems they are forced to live under ensure they remain that way. The “American Dream” will never be attainable for many.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when our “leader” is corrupt and incompetent. In the first six months of this year, we have lost more American lives to a virus than in World War I — a volume of death that should be 1% of that number. That number continues to grow instead of decline.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when the majority of Americans prefer to remain partisan over political. Dying on your sword because it’s red or blue will not heal our nation’s wounds.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when those in power and all around you deny your lived experience, and instead worry more about the property being destroyed by rioters than the lives being destroyed by our broken systems.
It’s hard to feel patriotic when your neighbor can issue you a death warrant for building a deck, having a barbecue, or watching birds in the park. I bet Alexander Graham Bell never imagined his invention would become a deadly weapon.
It’s hard to feel patriotic these days. But I still have hope. We have the power to use our voices, to stand up for the injustices all around us, and to tear down the system that oppresses many while giving refuge to a few.
Our Forefathers wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.